Custom software development is an elaborate process of developing, maintaining, and designing a software product tailored to cater to a client’s specific needs. A custom software product is the opposite of commercial-off-the-shelf software, or COTS, designed for commercial distribution.
Instead of being marketed commercially, a customer software product is designed to fulfill the specific needs of an organization or an individual. Although COTS and custom software products differ in availability and usage, they are designed by dedicated teams of software developers.
Examples of COTS and Custom Software Products
The two prominent examples of custom software products are:
- Microsoft Office, and
These commercial software products are designed to meet the general requirements of office tasks and website development. In contrast, a custom software product fulfills specific client needs or resolves problems specific only to them. Examples in this regard include:
- A field service equipment maintenance program designed to help the manufacturer of that product, or
- An online application designed to help a bank’s customers in performing online transactions
- An application or a program that records the daily employee attendance at a company, etc.
How does Custom Software Development Take Place?
The process of custom software development is very elaborate and known as bespoke software. The teams that perform this development procedure are usually part of the organization. However, many organizations and companies delegate this task to a third-party development team. And although the reasons for creating a custom software product and a commercially available software product are inherently different, they both go through the same cycle of tasks, i.e.,
- Gathering the requirements
- Constructing the code
- Testing the product, and
- Product’s deployment
Moreover, the methods involved in developing a custom software product are similar to that of COTS. Some of these methods include Agile, DevOps, and Rapid Application Development.
What Efforts are Associated with Custom Software Development?
The three significant efforts involved in custom software development are:
It is the modification of COTS applications and products for augmenting individual requirements.
It helps maintain the integrity of a business’s custom software product to comply with the evolving demands of its users and the market.
It enhances the software product’s effectiveness by augmenting different tasks, such as installation, performance, optimization, updating, and service desk functions.
While selecting your custom software development organization or team, it is necessary to inquire about the basics of custom software development, as mentioned above. A professional organization such as Bekey has dedicated teams of developers well-versed in all the basic and complex aspects of the software development process, and this process is discussed in detail below:
Software development process steps
Software development can be completed by implementing a software development process. A development team can employ different software development processes to create a custom software product. And among these development processes, one of the most important ones is the waterfall process.
The Waterfall Development Process
Also known as the linear sequential model, the waterfall method is the classical model for developing a custom software product. You will learn about the constituents of this waterfall software development method below. To utilize this method to its fullest potential, the development teams must complete these constituent steps sequentially. They should move to the next step only if they have completed the previous one and faced no hindrance in its completion. However, there can be a slight overlap between the two subsequent processes, which is not of much concern.
Now, since you are aware of this waterfall method, we will mention the six critical phases of this method:
- The project plan
- Creating a strategy
- Designing the software
- Writing the code
- Testing the product (before release)
- Final product release
The Project Plan
After the customer or the organization has requested a custom software product, the software development team has to run an analysis on several essential aspects. Some of these include:
- Alignment: How does this project relate to the team’s overall goals?
- Availability of resources: Are there enough professionals, tools, and resources available to deliver the project or is there a need to take services from a third party?
- Project scheduling: How will the team schedule this project to get completed within the projected timeframe?
- Costing: What will be the overall cost and budget of the project?
With appropriate planning measures, the software development team ensures that it begins the project without any disruption or problem.
Creating a strategy
In this step, the development teams look to create a development strategy by considering all the project’s technical requirements. The crucial questions must be answered concerning the client’s requirements. During this stage, clients determine the specific aspects of their software product, such as
- Who will use our product?
- What are their expectations of our product?
- How will they, as a development team, will integrate different tools and other software products within their custom software? Etc.
Design the software
After determining all the requirements, the team starts designing the appearance and function of their software product. This appearance is not meant in aesthetic processes. Instead, it refers to the seamless and smooth working of the software product.
Writing the code
After the team has proposed the functionality and design of their software product, they can begin the actual development of their software product. Compared to the previous stages of the software development lifecycle, this process is the most difficult and the riskiest. This risk comes from the development team having the proper extensive and detailed codes for their software product. Any mistake in this stage can result in drastic consequences for the team and the client.
Test the product (before release)
Although software development teams keep testing their software product and fixing any errors while it is still going through the development stages, the absolute way of testing their product is when they have completed it. Once their product is completed, they can perform various in-depth tests. At this stage, they can also [resent their software product to a beta group of testers who can use this software to check its integrity. This testing allows for identifying any bugs in the product and fixing them before presenting its final version to the client.
Final product release
With each completed process in the software development lifecycle, the development team progresses toward completing and delivering its project. After a satisfactory experience, while testing the software, the software development team presents its product to the client. The client then implements this product and informs the team of their experience.
Updating and maintaining the custom software product
If the client is satisfied with the final product, they will rely on the development team for any changes and modifications they want. The development team must stay in touch with their client and work on their software product to fulfill their client’s evolving needs and expectations.
Who Should Use the Waterfall Software Development Method?
As an additional note, the waterfall method is meant for teams and organizations with a robust structure requiring extensive documentation for each action they execute. Such teams have goals, objectives, technology, and working methods that are unlikely to change with time. With the waterfall method, organizations and teams can easily manage all the documentation required during product development.
Custom software development projects are very elaborate and involve a robust amount of cooperation and collaboration amongst the software developers. And as our world begins to rely more on technology, we can safely say that the scope of jobs in custom software development is expanding daily. However, the need of the hour is to identify competent developers and provide them with employment opportunities to efficiently utilize their software development skills.